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Institution Watch Site

September 1, 2009

Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia

 I love talking about people and their networks of friends probably more than anything else; I love the stories of reciprocity and growing together…   but the folks at People First Canada and Institution Watch remind us that while for some, things are getting better and better, and we’re leaders in community living, for others in our provinces things are still not so good – they exist in institutions and institutional environments where they do not have access to the community, so there’s no hope of meeting people and expanding their networks – except by folks daring to enter those environments, which I’ve always found pretty scary and intimidating (and I’m not easy to intimidate).   The folks from People First just keep visiting people in these places and working to free them…

This photo of the Huronia Regional Centre in Orillia celebrates the closure of  “Huronia Regional Centre; Opened in 1876; Originally called the Orillia Asylum for Idiots, later renamed the Ontario Hospital School; Resident population in 1971: 1,875; in Orillia” which was closed permanently this year. 

 In British Columbia Institution Watch is keeping an eye on several congregate projects around the province.   Some stories of life in institutions and life in the community are told here.   I have to say that one of the things I continually celebrate, when I listen to the stories of folks and their networks, is the knowledge that the people theyv’e met and come to be friend with in the community will have far less tolerance for a return to instituations. 

Thanks to People First for constantly reminding us that there is still work to be done, all around the country.  

No one is free when others are oppressed.  ~Author Unknown

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